Truth in Tension, Apparent Paradox, and in the "Both, And"
So… I haven’t been posting because of my limits. Because I keep just working a little on this every day, and then on the weekend when I would post, I’m still not quite done, and I don’t have the time right then to finish it up and post.
But as I worked on this every day, it was getting longer and longer. And I find I normally don’t like to break up long posts because… what? I don’t trust myself to follow through and post all of it if I wait for any of it, I think. Well, and because there’s a unifying theme, a reason it could be all one long post.
But this time, with this habit of working every day on a Saving My Life or Felt Comfort Happy Place post, I think I can do it. I think this one will be the intro post (or email, as the case may be) to a series on paradox and tension. Wish me luck!
Oh, hey. Just because my process involves words building up and building up inside of me until the dam breaks and all the words pour out, doesn’t mean your experience has to be of the dam breaking and words flooding over you.
“You get to drink from the FIRE HOSE!!!!!!”
Hooray for limits, yes?! 😁 And not just the kind of limits that bring such a powerful focus that they bowl people over! 😂
Here’s the Theme
Recently-ish, or perhaps a little while ago now… oh, look! It was 20 weeks ago! Huh! Um, Jessica Heimsoth of Every Thought Captive Coaching told me that a coach told her that “many important truths are paradoxes.” This seemed true to me at the time, and as I’ve thought over it, it continues to seem true! How often there’s this tension, this “yes, and” or “already, but not yet.” Truth in tension.
We are small and fragile, yet of immense value, dearly loved. We are both powerless and powerful, broken and being made whole and new, this world is full of both beauty, wonder, and delight and also ugliness, horrors, and diseased brokenness. Wonder and BLAH. Wrongness. The failure of the cross is and becomes the greatest victory or eucatastrophe in the world, we are made holy even as we let go of image and “being good” and forgive as the Lord forgave us. As we become small and foolish as children, we grow. There’s power and freedom in limits.
“‘Aslan,’ said Lucy, ‘you’re bigger.’
‘That is because you are older, little one,’ answered he.
‘Not because you are?’
‘I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.’”
—Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
What is good and true is also beautiful, and vice versa… except for when it isn't. “All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost.”
Even trials and tragedies are both good, and yet not at all good.
“Then Iluvatar spoke, and he said: ‘…And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.’”
—The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
“Oh, you know the old stories, you know how it goes:
The gift is the curse is the gift is the curse and
My binaries break in the dark after dusk,
so I’m done running from what was hard and what hurt”
“So your victory came at a cost So to find yourself got you so lost Holding tight made it slip through your grasp The storm drove you to shelter at last“So our suffering wrote us a song So our bravery broke all our bones So our scars map our fight to survive Empty hands help you find your way home“Empty hands help you find your way home Empty hands help you find your way home”
—“Vespers,” from Standing Stones, by Marian Call
Tea I’m Drinking
None right at the moment, but the other day I took this picture when I was having some more Irish Breakfast. Mmmm.
What Else I’m Writing
What do you think? Do you have any favorite apparent contradictions? Any favorite paradox quotes? Images, stories?